I wish I had a nickel for every time someone has asked me if I make money from my blog -- and a dollar for every time one of these people used the "M" word, asking me if I've found a way to "monetize" the effort.
Well, before I answer their frequently asked question, let me begin with the basics. The word "monetize" completely repels me. If there is one word in the English language I can live without, it would be that word.
What? "Leverage," "incentivize," and "maximize" aren't enough? Now we need "monetize"?
I've got nothing against money. I like money. I like having it. I like spending it. I've got two kids to put through college. It's just that not everything we do needs to be monetized.
I feel really good about hugging my kids without monetizing the effort. I also feel really good about walking my dog without monetizing the effort. Same goes for laughing, breathing, singing, listening to music, watching a sunset, writing poetry, volunteering, talking to friends, meditating, and reading books.
I don't get paid a penny for any of these things. But somehow, blogging has to monetized? No, it doesn't.
The weird thing is, whenever I'm asked by well-meaning friends if my blogging has helped me grow my business, my response is usually tinged with a subtle form of defensiveness, bravado, and hocus-pocus about "building a brand."
I confess: My response hasn't always been authentic because I have bought into the assumptions, doubts, and "business acumen" of my inquisitors.
The fact of the matter is this: I blog because I love it. I love to write. I love to communicate. I love to connect. I love to inspire. I love to share ideas, experiment, learn, discover, and be part of a community that is passionate about growth.
NOTE: The previous paragraph is not marketing copy. Neither is it my new mission statement, or attempt to get more Twitter followers.
We live in an age that is far too focused on money. People have confused it with a lot of other things -- like happiness, for example... and meaning.... and fulfillment... and the innate thirst to make a contribution to others.
I'm not suggesting that money is evil or my clients should start paying me in yak milk. No. What I'm saying is this: Not every action needs to be monetized. Some things should be done for the sheer joy of it.
And you, bloggers, out there -- stand up for yourselves! Stop playing the game of "building a business case" every time someone asks you if all the time you spend blogging is worth it. Of course it's worth it! But the measure of its worth cannot always be measured in dollars and cents.
Mitch Ditkoff is the Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions, an innovation consultancy. He is also the author of three blogs: The Heart of Innovation, The Heart of the Matter, and One Voice for Laos/Teens for Change. He is not about to ask you for money or sell you anything.